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Ancient Hebrew collections preserved

The non-profit Society for the Preservation of Hebrew Books is using search technology from dtSearch and a multilingual optical character recognition (OCR) solution from Ligature to make two ancient collections of books available on its Web site.

One collection consists of more than 1,000 rare Passover Haggadahs from around the world, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. The collection was loaned to the Society, which in turn scanned and OCR'd it to preserve the content as PDF images.

According to a recent press release from dtSearch, visitors can search the collection in the original Hebrew using its technology. A Hebrew virtual keyboard control on the site enables visitors with any language keyboard to instantly type in Hebrew search teams. After a search, the technology jumps right to the relevant page of the collection, displaying the original page image along with search term highlights on the PDF image for easy browsing.

The second collection includes 400 original works relating to 12th century scholar and physician Maimonides, also known in Hebrew as Rambam. Both collections join the Friedberg-Ryzman collection of more than 15,000 existing books that have been preserved by the Society and are freely available and fully searchable at its site. The Society has scanned those thousands of rare and out-of-print works over the past nine years—concerned that the originals could be lost, destroyed or disintegrate over time.

Chaim Rosenberg, founder of the Society for the Preservation of Hebrew Books, says, "We are very pleased to announce the addition of the Haggadahs from the Chabad - Lubavitch Library ... We are also very pleased to add the Maimonides/Rambam scholarly collection. Rambam is one of the pre-eminent, and certainly most prolific, Jewish scholars of all time. This collection of his works is unique to the Society, and we are proud to make it available for worldwide scholarly access."

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